Corn is one of those foods that spans across a couple seasons. It reaches it’s peak growth in summer, but is also one of the flavors of fall – particularly around Thanksgiving. However, the preparation of it can be a little plain – even if corn on the cob with just butter and salt is tasty. From a Mexican dish to one where the corn compliments lobster, these restaurants show that corn can be so much more than just a side dish.
Haven Gastropub
190 S. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 221-0680

It’s easy to think of corn as a compliment to other foods. The corn dish at Haven shows that corn can be the main attraction. In this vegetarian dish, corn is served with cilantro-lime butter, cotija cheese, and quinoa. What makes this dish is the mole. The spice of the mole makes the perfect base for the corn. Don’t be surprised if you order this dish anytime you visit Haven.

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St., Suite A-102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 545-1411

Located in The Camp, Old Vine is a charming little place to visit for brunch or dinner. It also has some very good options for corn dishes. For brunch, you can choose the Smothered dish, which is a piece of cornbread smothered with serrano-chile gravy, cheese, zucchini, and red peppers. Try this once and it might become your preferred brunch dish. On the dinner menu you’ll find the Polenta Pomodoro, which is topped with a creamy tomato sauce and fresh Pecorino cheese and is a lighter alternative to pasta.

Dos Chinos
201 E. 4th St., Suite 139
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 383-0414

Dos Chinos started as a food truck and now makes its home in 4th Street Marketplace. You’ll be glad for that when you see the corn dish here. The lobster elote starts with a base of corn smothered with cheese. On top of that is a whole lobster that is already cracked when you receive it so you don’t have to worry about lobster shrapnel. The savory flavor of the lobster is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the corn. You may not expect to find lobster at 4th Street Marketplace, but you’ll sure be glad you did.

2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-0176

Depending on when you visit, Habana has several dishes featuring corn. Vegetable empanadas, which are filled with corn, other vegetables, and cotija cheese are available on both the dinner and brunch menus. The brunch menu features tamale pie, which is made with polenta, cheese, rice,, black beans, and platanos. Also on the brunch menu is a polenta dish topped with cheese, egg, and salsa. Any of the corn dishes here might become a favorite.

Los Reyes del Elote
Corner of Main and Chestnut
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(949) 610-4226

Sometimes food trucks gain a following because they provide something people can’t find elsewhere. Los Reyes del Elote is a taco truck that also serves elote in three varieties. You can get corn on the cob with cheese, mayonnaise, and chili. You can also get charbroiled corn (elote asado) in a cup or elote cocido, which is served in a cup with mayonnaise, lemon, cheese, and chili. It’s worth a trip to this truck to experience the elote which will probably get you to return.

By Gary Schwind

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